How to Brew Tea

Knowing How to Brew Tea Is
Central to Hostessing a Tea Party


It is rather simple to brew tea, so don't be afraid to experiment. While you are planning your tea party menu, take the time to decide which teas you wish to serve and which ones will be best paired with the foods you wish to serve.

teapot and cup and saucer for one, china teapot and tea cupTea for One


Your choices range between tea (camellia sinensis), scented tea, blended tea, and herbal tea (tisane). Regardless of what type you choose, the method will remain the same ~ the only differences will be water temperatures and length of brewing times.

How to Brew Tea For a Great Flavor

  1. Bring fresh cold water to a full boil (almost to a boil for white and green tea)
  2. Warm your teapot with several ounces of hot water for about 30 seconds and then empty
  3. Add 1 tsp. of tea for each 6 - 8 oz. cup you are making
  4. Cover and let steep for the recommended length of time for the particular type of tea you are brewing. That's really all there is to brewing tea, but see below for ideas and extra tips on how to brew tea.

Tips for a Perfect Pot of Tea:

  1. Use fresh cold water ~ heated water from a hot water heater can have higher mineral contents than cold.
  2. Water drawn from the hot water supply or water that has been previously boiled and re-heated will have a lower oxygen level. Oxygen is important for the release of flavors in your tea.
  3. If your water supply is highly treated with chemicals, you might consider filtering it to remove some of the chlorine and other contaminants, or use bottled water.
  4. Like stronger tea? Add more tea leaves reather than using a longer steeping time. Letting your tea steep too long can give a bitter taste. (white tea is an exception)
  5. When trying a new tea, make one cup at a time and taste it at the lowest steep time and then at one minute intervals. Some teas/tisanes will taste optimal with less brewing, some with more.
  6. I recommend making a chart with each type of tea you enjoy and noting your preferred brewing times. I don't recommend marking a package, because it gets thrown away.
  7. Water temps don't have to be measured. The main thing to remember is to not use boiling water on green or white teas as this will cause a bitter taste. A longer steeping time will add a bitter taste also, because too many tannins are released. If you enjoy stronger tea, I would suggest you add extra tea leaves rather than letting your tea brew too long.


Brewing Chart for Perfect Tea

TEAWATER TEMPERATURESTEEP TIME
Green160-180* (when air bubbles start to rise)1-3 min
White180* (Air bubbles are rising fairly fast)5-8 min up to 15 min
Black212* (full boil)3-6 min
Oolong212* (full boil)3-4 min
Herbal Tisanes212* (full boil)3-10 min
Blooming (Black)212* (full boil)3-10 min
Blooming (Green)160-180* (when air bubbles start to rise)3-10 min

Keep in mind all recommendations on amounts and lengths of steeping times are general rules. Your tastes and preferences will be established with experimenting with amounts and times. With practice, your friends and neighbors will be calling you for recommendations on how to brew tea!

Note: These directions in general, refer to loose leaf tea. Most tea that is pre-packaged in tea bags are "crumbs left over" of higher grades of tea leaves.

Does this mean you can't get a higher quality tea to brew in a tea bag? No. It just means 'most'. I have had some very fine teas from tea bags.

Cone or pyramid shaped bags allow for much more expansion than normal tea bags and will give a better brew.

The fine pieces of tea leaves are meant to give a 'quick brew' and are noticeably weaker on multiple infusions. Higher grades of tea available as loose leaf will be able to be infused 2-4 times and sometimes the subsequent pots of tea have a more full bodied, robust flavor. This is due to the leaves being 'opened' up on the first brew. Note that multiple infusions will take a shorter steeping time because of this.

Once you master the method of how to brew tea, you will always be able to brew a great pot of tea.

Additional Information:

Return to Tea Party Guide From How to Brew Tea
Visit How to Brew White Tea
Visit How to Brew Green Tea
How to Brew Oolong Tea
Visit How to Brew Black Tea

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